Cape Cod vs. Maine coast - which to choose?


Apr 27th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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Cape Cod vs. Maine coast - which to choose?

Investigating summer vacation in early September and can't decide between Cape Cod or Maine coast. DD2 and I will be flying into Boston where DD1 goes to college and renting a car. We have visited Boston quite a few times and don't plan any sightseeing this trip. DD2 and I will arrive on a Fri evening and have about 8-9 day stay. DD1 cannot go with us for all this time, so we need to find somewhere she can take train or bus or other public transportation back to college (Waltham) on Mon.

We are from Midwest, seeing and swimming in the ocean is important to us. We would like to find a condo or apartment we can rent for a week that is on the beach or close to a beach, from which we can base ourselves to do interesting day trips. A resort would be welcome, but perhaps wouldn't fall in our budget. We are foodies, so interesting/unusual clam shacks, nice eating places would also be welcome. This is not our major trip this year, so we would like to do this as reasonably as possible.

Suggestions Fodorites? TIA.
aliska is offline  
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Apr 27th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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Either southern ME or the Cape would be fine in September and there are trains from ME and Busses or the ferry from Provincetown to Boston and public transport to Waltham from the train or ferry. You may be able to get off season rates on a lodging but don't count on deep discounts in either place. Think about the other things you like to do to help you decide since there age good eating places in both areas. You also might like the north shore of MA , Cape Ann area as a possible choice.
emalloy is offline  
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Apr 27th, 2009, 12:35 PM
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If swimming in the ocean is a priority, the beaches are warmer at the Cape (although they are not by any standard really warm, especially those facing the ocean rather than Cape Cod Bay or Nantucket Sound). I used to go swimming in Maine, but I was young and hardy. Don't think I'd make it past my ankles now.
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Apr 27th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Thanks Nikki. We usually go to NC, SC or Florida for the beach, was thinking it would be much colder. Where should we investigate on Cape Cod? DDs would like some place where they can go out after dinner and "hang out" (meet boys?)
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Apr 27th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Chatham might be a nice combination of beach and in-town hanging out things to do.

You could rent a house/cottage in walking distance to the bay side beaches, in Eastham or Wellfleet. Wellfleet has a nice little town center with restaurants and hanging out opportunities. The ocean side is all taken up with the National Seashore: there aren't any ocean side rentals on this part of Cape Cod (the fore-arm ocean side).

As a general rule, you could definitely swim in the bay-side water but the ocean-side beaches can be brisk. The farther south your go, the warmer the ocean-side water.

But personally I think the southern part (the upper-arm) is too crowded and the beaches are small and not scenic.

Provincetown has great beaches, beach-side hotels and B&B's and great restaurants. It is a fun town with lots of shopping and hanging out oppurtunities. But it is not so great for meeting boys, unless you are another boy.
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Apr 27th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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How about Portsmouth NH? You could rent a place in Rye Beach and then do Portsmouth at night, tons of bars, restaurants, shops and boys. There's also a C&J bus from Portsmouth that goes to South Station in Boston where your DD can get the commuter rail to Waltham.
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Apr 30th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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The Maine coast is the more charming, beautiful, and tranquil of the two; but the water will be too cold to swim in for comfort. As much as I love Portsmouth, the water in NH will be too cold as well. Unless you have thick skin.
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Apr 30th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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capxxx, there are a few rentals in the National Seashore on the ocean side. They tend to be cottages but there are few higher end ones too.
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Apr 30th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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I will always vote for coastal Maine over the Cape but if you want to swim it may be a tad bit colder in Maine. I simply think the coast of Maine is significantly more dramatic than the Cape.
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May 1st, 2009, 04:45 AM
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We love the Dockside Guest Quarters in York - cute accomodations, not fancy but plenty confortable, some with little kitchenettes. ALL have a gorgeous view of the harbor and we loved to sit on our porch or balcony (depending on whether we were staying ground floor level or 2nd floor) and watch the lobster boats go in and out. The pretty York beach is a short drive away.

Dockside also has an excellent restaurant for lunch and dinner. We found it a great place to stay and explore the south coast of Maine.
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May 20th, 2009, 08:29 AM
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Both. Split your time.
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May 20th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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I am going to suggest Portland, Maine. It is not anywhere you would want to swim, but it has a ferry system that goes to and from a lot of picturesque islands, and there is a famous lighthouse a very short distance away.

BEST of all for students is that there are outlets galore and LL Bean in nearby Freeport, cute shops in Portland, and plenty of restaurants for the group and bars for the girls to meet boys, many, many bars. You can get to North Station in Boston by train and South Station by bus, and there is commuter rail from North Station to Waltham, near the Brandeis campus
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May 24th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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I have enjoyed both places on a regular basis (love Old Orchard Beach..) Cape Cod however is a bit warmer--both weather and water temperature wise. I have put together a great little site you should check out before you decide. You might learn about something you may want to see.
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May 29th, 2009, 08:28 AM
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I grew up in Maine and, believe me, the Cape is much better at that time of year!!! Craigville Beach on the Cape's South Shore is a crescent-shaped beach that gets nice and warm when heated by the sun. And, the Cape has so much more.
Check out my site to see more beach, restaurant and fun info:
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